‘180’ a stitched textile narrative

i am always telling a story.

sometimes i use words, sometimes my favourite needle that that is slowly starting to shape itself to the way my fingers hold it. isn’t this a curiously comforting thing? that something might yield to us, to how we in turn respond to it in our hands.

of course, i don’t always use words, or thread, but i always use my life—as canvas, as a vulnerable vehicle through which to say, ‘i am not here to to tell you how to live your life. i am only here for a short while so i might tell you about mine.’ there are lives that we have not tasted. we should be glad for this. but also, i want to tell you that love is stronger than life; stronger than the will to live. the one will fade in the end, but the other—love, how it will carry on rippling through the days and years and ages, and we won’t know a thing about how one small moment connected us to a life three hundred years from now, and so i bless the ones that came before me, the ones that lived their lives in a place called ‘Poverty’, and the great grandmothers of my great grandmothers who were stolen from two continents and sold like their lives were not their very own, and here i am hundreds and hundreds and seventy times seven years of prayers later, telling the story of 180 extra decisions that are carried in my body every day, probably there are more, but this is what i have for now, and there are other mothers and fathers and soft bodies with pancreas that grew tired and said, ‘now it’s your turn if you want to live and be alive’, soft bodies whose neurons are pulsing and firing and wait and react and react and wait, in the light and in the day, and somewhere the great grandmothers of my great grandmothers are mothering me in the gentle ether, saying ‘before you leave to join us, you must tell the stories, you must tell the stories, you must tell the stories, but use your own life so that they will pay attention, so that they won’t stumble over their own expectations, so that they might tell the stories that live inside their own days, so that we might heal what lies behind, and what is waiting to grow.’

{📷 a little glimpse at this story unfolding on a vintage Edwardian Combination Undergarment. i have called it ‘180’ and it has things to tell of the weight of decisions that rest on the shoulders of those with T1 diabetes, and more so, told from the perspective of me as a mother carrying the weight of these decisions. more to follow as i finish this piece}

in 2014, researchers from Stanford University estimated that people with diabetes, and of course that would include the ones providing their care if they are young, or unable to, make an additional 180 health-related decisions every day compared to people without diabetes.

this equates to almost one additional decision every five waking minutes.

some of these decisions are a critical to life, more so when the person is ill.

for many T1 diabetics, and their carers, this extra burden of decisions, all inter-linked, can contribute to a definite sense of fatigue and burnout.

i want to tell the story of this decision burden through the use of textile and thread.

in my book, The Velveting Bones, there is a poem called, Things That Bind, and it tells the story of telling the story of a life.

how we should tell our stories, not to tell others how to live their lives, but so that we might give breath to our own.

i am touching on so many themes with this post—the story of my ancestral mothers will still find their way here, but for now i am telling the story of my boy, and how to be a pancreas for another human being, and there is levity in this, but also a hidden weight that many others carry and i want to bring that to the light.